Blaze suffer late Bank Holiday loss
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze suffered a tough late loss on Bank Holiday Monday as the Cardiff Devils snatched victory from the Skydome Arena with just 11 seconds remaining on the clock.
Blaze went into the pre-season encounter missing British forward Russ Cowley whilst last season's top points and goal scorer Brett Robinson also sat out. Devils still awaiting the arrival of former NHL forward Patrick Bordeleau were also without defenceman Andrew Hotham, Gui Doucet and Gleason Fournier.
Former Blaze goalie Tom Murdy started in net for the Welsh side, with Great Britain international Ben Bowns taking a seat on the bench.
The opening period saw referee Tom Darnell call numerous penalties on both teams, eventually seeing the Devils open the scoring at 5.46 through Mark Richardson whilst 4-on-4, beating an unsighted Brian Stewart in the Blaze goal.
Swedish sharp-shooter Robin Bergman then tied the game just past the half way mark (34.12) beating Murdy with a blistering wrist shot.
The scores didn’t stay level for long though, the Devils’ Patrick Asselin taking advantage of a breakdown by the Blaze defence at 37.29 to send Cardiff into the second period a break a goal to the good.
There was end-to-end action in the final period with Cardiff’s Man of the Match Tom Murdy stealing the show between the pipes.
Despite the 25-year-old British goalies strong efforts, he was to be beaten by Darcy Zajac who scored his first Blaze goal on the powerplay following a nice feed by the impressive Robin Bergman with just over two minutes remaining in the game (57.54).
With the scores level at two, Blaze went searching for a late winner in front of their home crowd but there was late dissapointment as Devils’ Player/Head Coach Andrew Lord sent the Cardiff fans home happy, picking up on smart drop pass from Scott Hotham, rifling past Brian Stewart to win the game 2-3 with just 11 seconds remaining.
Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I’m happy about the performance. Two bad line changes cost us but there is way more positives than negatives. I thought we had a lot of success when we got pucks deep into their zone and we worked them down low. I think there were times when we were over-thinking plays rather than keeping the puck on our stick and being patient but I’m very happy. This is the first time these guys have played back-to-back and they looked stronger in the second game which is a huge positive.”
Listen to Danny Stewart post-game:
#9 Darcy Zajac
#22 Marc Cantin
Blaze continue their pre-season schedule as they travel to Manchester on Wednesday night for the Storm's home opener of the season.